Top Ten Young (Mostly White) ActressesI was planning to do a Top Ten Meryl Streep performances but I could anticipate the collective groan by you fine people. We don’t really even need to go there — there have been so many. I’d probably go: 1. Sophie’s Choice, 2. The Devil Wears Prada, 3. Postcards from the Edge, 4. Silkwood, 5. Doubt, 6. Kramer Vs. Kramer, 7. Manhattan, 8. Out of Africa, 9. One True Thing (totally underrated), 10. The Bridges of Madison County – you know, it’s kind of impossible to choose only ten; I suppose I’ll have to write a longer Meryl tribute later, after I see and decide where Julia & Julia fits in. I know, you’re all jumping with joy at the prospect…
I wanted to take a look at the up-and-comers – because, you know, in Hollywood it’s all about who is young and hot, not who is old and not (except Meryl, we love YOU old Meryl!). I’m wondering who is most likely, as a young actress, to win an Oscar either soon or at some point in the near future. I’m going to toss out a very lame list because I just know you readers are much smarter and can come up with better names. So before I hand it over to you – here are a few young ladies who seem like the path is being cleared for them, either because they have the talent to get there or because they are so well-liked they will clutch that statue whether they deserve it or not.
Lists like this are kind of pointless – because it isn’t always about who they are but what kind of work they do, or perhaps the right part at the right time. But let’s face it, a lot of it is who they are – Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz - they were destined to win something at some point.
10. (A tie) Keke Palmer and Rebecca Hall – Of the young actresses out there, it’s difficult to come up with young women of color who seem Oscar-bound. I had to dig deep to find Palmer and probably this is a token entry. I just couldn’t stomach ten white actresses. I know I get shit for it, too. But Palmer appears to be hungry enough and serious enough, and is making the right choices to put her in the top ten of eventuals. She is unproven, of course, but the perception is there that she is going places.
Rebecca Hall seems to have handlers pushing her in the right direction. She’s got the looks for success. So far, the readers are more confident of her placement than I am – she’s okay to me but nothing particularly astonishing. At any rate, I’ll add her.
Other names I wanted to squeeze in but had a hard time doing so: Dakota Fanning (needs more time to erase the kid actor thing), Jenna Malone, Scarlett Johansson (seems to be deliberately derailing her Oscar promise, but one day she’ll wake up to the reality of having and then losing power in Hollywood), Emily Blunt – she seems headed that way but to me has shown enough depth or versatility yet. She will. Catalina Sandino Moreno has had the one great performance.
A note about the almost complete whiteness of the choices: I chose all white actresses because they seem to dominate the whole idea of cultivating an Oscar-winning career (though no doubt Halle Berry would have broken through).
This isn’t to say there aren’t many black, Asian, Latino actresses who are also cultivating Oscar careers, or aren’t deserving, or won’t win – in fact, these days, being black seems to give potential nominees the edge. But they are more likely to be one-offs and WINNERS, rather than multiple nominees who finally win – and again, this isn’t exclusively true.
As for older black actresses, or any older actress, overdue for an Oscar – or in line to someday win an Oscar – that’s a whole different list too, and that would include Viola Davis, Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, etc. I tried to narrow it to the young and up-and-coming. It’s a sober awakening, no doubt.